US Olympic Media Summit
By Max Donner
Dallas, TX(Hollywood Today)5/21/12/—Foreign correspondents joined nearly five hundred American journalists at the 2012 US Olympic Media Summit in Dallas this week. They were as amazed by the athletes’ charisma and engaging personalities as they were by their extraordinary athletic accomplishments. That’s good news for the media and for spectators because 2012 will be first year that all Summer Olympic events will be streamed live on the Internet.
Southern California is home to many of the brightest stars. Beach volleyball 2008 gold medal winner Phil Dalhausser lives in Santa Barbara, women’s soccer sensation Alex Morgan is from Diamond Bar and Jessica Hardy of USA Swimming trains with the USC Trojan Swim Club. Olympians Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan are both based at the Orange County Badminton Club. Both Betsy Armstrong and Men’s Team Captain Tony Azevedo of USA Water Polo are from Long Beach and their teammate Brenda Villa lives in Commerce. Long Beach is also home to gymnast and Olympic hopeful Mckayla Maroney. 2008 Olympic veteran Eric Shanteau of USA Swimming recently moved to Los Angeles from Georgia.
Track cycling superstar Sarah Hammer is from Temecula and now lives and trains in Spain. USA Archery’s contenders at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Brady Ellison and Jennifer Nichols, now train at the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. One of our local Olympians is literally a shooting star — El Monte resident and four time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode of USA Shooting is also the star of a popular program on the Outdoor Channel, ‘Step Outside.’
2008 gymnastics gold medal winner Shawn Johnson handles press interviews with ease.
Alex Morgan, who graduated from UC Berkeley in 2010, credits the strengths of sports education in Southern California with accelerating her sports career. “There’s a focus on youth sports programs. And we got to play against the top clubs like the SoCal Blues and Slammers.” Morgan was trained in the local Olympic Development Program coached by Michelle Myers of Loyola Marymount University.
USA Water Polo Men’s Team Captain Tony Azevedo also appreciates the many benefits Southern California has provided for his athletic career. “Four of the men on the USA Water Polo Olympic team are form Wilson High School in Long Beach,” reports Azevedo. He learned to play water polo in a club with a proud Olympic legacy and ten former Olympic tam members on its roster.
2008 Olympic fencing silver medalist Tim Morehouse is telling the story of fencing with his new book “American Fencer.”
Gymnast Shawn Johnson returned home to Iowa after giving Los Angeles a tryout during her season on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ She left with many new friends and fond memories, as well as an admiration for the best of L.A. As Johnson explained to reporters at the Media Summit, “you can be anything you want in L.A. There are no expectations. You can be a dancer, a poet, anything you want to be.” She added with youthful candor, “I liked the publicity, the paparazzi. When I went back to Iowa, I kind of thought ‘Gee, that’s sucks.’ But my family didn’t let me think that for long.”
You can see many of our top Olympic athletes soon at major competitions against international Olympic contenders scheduled in our area. On May 31, the Olympic team from Hungary will play in an exhibition series against the men of USA Water Polo at UCLA Spieker Aquatic Center. On June 1, USA takes on Croatia at Rose Bowl Aquatics. The USA Water Polo Women’s team will play against arch-rival China on July 8.
Top Olympic athletes from around the world will be in the City of Orange soon for the US Open of Badminton. This event will take place at the Orange County Badminton Club July 2 to 7.
The women of USA Volleyball are ranked number one in the world and favored to win a medal at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Just before they fly to London for the Olympics, they will host rival Bulgaria in three exhibitions games. The first will be held 7 p.m. on July 14 at American Sports Centers in Anaheim. The series concludes with two matches at Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California July 16 and 18.
Many of the Olympic team trails and exhibitions matches will also be televised on Universal Sports and the NBS Sports Channel. And highlights of US Olympic team contests are gaining attention on a special YouTube Channels like www.youtube.com/USAWP for Olympic fans.
While many leading sports agents and sponsors have already signed up some of the top Olympic contenders, the door is still open. As Olympic hopeful Jessica Hardy of USA Swimming puts it, “I’m always looking for more sponsors.”